Five Tips to Becoming a Doer in 2019

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I used to be a New Year’s resolutions type girl, but this past holiday season, I decided on a new approach: do it anyway.  Now, if you follow me on social media you know that I’ve been on to something for a while now.  #DoItAnyway was a present theme for 2018, so I decided to apply this powerful mantra to all of 2019.  I used to make resolutions because that’s the messaging that society puts out-we see lots of advertising for fitness programs and dieting trends, vitamins, financial wellness programs, new wardrobe choices, gym memberships, car sales, even pitches for home decor.  Now don’t get me wrong, all that we see is to benefit the consumer, but if you’re like me-nothing seemed to stick.  I always found myself right back to old habits-just with a lot of new stuff I didn’t need.  So as 2018 was coming to a close, I was intentionally absent from social media.  I took the time to really and truly reflect on what it is that I want for my life and here is what I’ve concluded:  I have to be a doer.  It seems so simple, but when I started to evaluate my habits in relation to my goals, I noticed that delay was often not because of some external circumstance, it was a lack of action on my part.  I noticed that I would have moments where I was extremely motivated and I would make a slew of posts about whatever had sparked an interest in me only to make declarations and such that I would ultimately let go stale or that I would fail to make good on.  I realized that I was more into setting goals than actually doing the work to achieve them! Gasp!  I was addicted to visualizing and scrolling for inspirational content because it subconsciously gave me an excuse and a way to escape from the hard work that comes with achieving goals.  I was choosing to pacify my fear over actually doing what it takes to make my dreams a reality.  Oh my gosh!  To accept that I was cheating myself out of the life I wanted normally would have devastated me, but I’ve made the decision to not dwell on my challenges, but to actually do something about them.  So far, 2019 has gotten off to a wonderful start!  Here are a few steps that you can take to become a doer this year.

  1.  Cultivate discipline.  In Marc and Angel Chernoff’s Getting Back to Happy, they assert, “too often we obsess over a big goal, something we desperately want in our life, but are completely unfocused when it comes to the ritual-the recurring steps-that ultimately makes the goal attainable.”  They go on to discuss the direct relation that achievement has with discipline and how discipline is cultivated from daily rituals.  The lack of discipline is directly correlated with the stalemate we often experience in our lives.  Get you some DISCIPLINE sis!  Start with something simple, like making your bed as soon as you get up or washing your coffee cup immediately after finishing, as suggested by Marc and Angel.
  2. Implement a schedule.  March 25, 2019, my blog will be a year old and including this post, I have exactly six articles posted. Six! So, I have implemented a writing schedule.  Sundays are currently my best days for productivity, so that’s when I have scheduled myself to write and post.  No excuses. I have a goal to grow thecrwnd.blog into a true platform for all things self-love and it’s just not going to get there with six posts.
  3. Be Accountable.  I completed my first speaking engagement of 2019 this past Saturday and I met some incredible people-their feedback about my short talk was all the proof I needed that I am heading in the right direction and because of this-I know the work that I have set out to do is necessary.  I can no longer operate the way I did in 2018.  I owe it to them and my masterwork to get my shit together.  With that, I have enlisted an accountability partner.  She is a no-nonsense, do-what-you-said, kick you in the ass-type.  She is also a doer and her work speaks for her.
  4. Create a workable plan.  Since I’ve started this whole life-changing journey of self-love, I have been inspired to take myself to higher heights, to change how I define myself and to destroy my own limiting beliefs.  I thrive off of small successes, so I have learned to take my big goals and break them down into smaller goals that I can work on and achieve quickly.  The momentum gained from these small successes builds my momentum for work towards the bigger ones.  My plan includes a timeline and a checkpoint-these serve to keep me on track and to assess my progress.
  5. Trust yourself.  Trust in my ability has been one of the biggest hurdles for me.  I either invite a past failure or fear into the present or I over think the future with a hailstorm of what-ifs.  In order to stop this cycle, I apply this principle to making decisions:  I trust myself to be able to handle it-whether the result is positive or negative-I can handle it.

This year, let’s move past seeing it and get into doing it.  We can do this!

 


Time to Give Up

By Traci Chanel

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I had an epiphany (gosh I love this word) around day 36 of #QwnSzn and it was this:  sometimes you gotta know when to give up.  I know. It sounds weird coming from me as I believe in the power of just do it and doing it anyway, but I’m not exactly talking about giving up as in quitting.  Let me explain.

I recently read an article about Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba. It was about the three questions he asks himself daily that he says helps him to find success and achieve goals.  My kind of shit.  On my own personal evolution journey, I often ask myself “big questions.”  I discovered the power of asking oneself important questions sometime ago, but I was really intrigued by the simplicity of Ma’s questions.  They are, What do I have?, What do I want?, and What will I give up?  Simple right?  I read through Ma’s application of each question-all great, but it was my own Auntie Oprah aha that made them profound.  Here’s my epiphany:

Question 1 What do I have?  I knew right away that this question had internal and external applications.  Internally, this question is about gratitude.  It’s about acknowledging what I’ve already accomplished and being grateful for everything that I’ve come through and thankful for what I have because truthfully, I live in the present, in the now and that’s the only thing that is real.  The past is over and done with and the future is only a well thought out maybe that I have no guarantee of living.  The only guarantee that anyone has is that one day we will all take one last breath.  I digress.  Externally, the question becomes actionable when I take stalk of what resources I have available to me in order to work a plan.

Question 2 What do I want?  This question is like an invitation to dream with focus; to become absolute with a vision and set a goal.  I believe that this question can only be asked after expressing gratitude.  It’s important to know that who I am at the moment is my highest form of self, who I dream to be is my next level self.  Make no mistake, I know that I am worthy right now.  So, this question gives the opportunity for me to make the vision plain and clear, to know and express exactly what I want and make a plan.

Question 3 What will I give up?  This is the question that made me bow my head shamefully. It was the one that choked me up.  I couldn’t answer it because it was showing me up.  I felt like I was being accosted.  No seriously.  This question made me shift in my seat, I was so uncomfortable with my answer.  My answer to this question shined a light on a horrible habit that I have, procrastination.  Procrastination is like a drug.  It temporarily soothes pain and momentarily takes one away from suffering.  So to ask me what I am willing to give up? Shit, it was like asking me to choose how I  would like to suffer and who wants to do that?

I learned from Mark Manson, writer of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, that knowing what pain we want in our life and what we are willing to struggle for steers our choices.  See, our choices either drive us closer to our goal or take us off course.  Then it hits me.  I choose procrastination because it delays my perceived suffering.  My dreams then, starve to death and the cycle repeats.  It happens every time I get excited or a dream comes to me.  I envision myself living the dream and even make a plan.  Soon as I have to commit (which means I have to give up something) or it gets hard and I lose motivation-I procrastinate.  Every. Single. Time.

I decided to ask myself the three questions.  What do I have?  This was easy to answer.  #QwnSzn is all about gratitude, so I breezed through this question.  What do I want?  I had several answers for this one: financial freedom, accountability, a farm, Essence Fest and the list goes on.  I admit that when it came to the third question, my hand shook to write its answer.  What will I give up?  The first thing I wrote was give up immediate gratification-this is hard for me. I took a breath. Then my heart poured out.  Give up impatience.  Give up old limiting mindsets.  Give up idle time or the seduction of idle time.  Give up comparing my timeline to others.  Give up the thought of instant success.  Give up the illusion of daydreaming as being the same as action.  Give up sleep (sometimes).  Give up failing to plan. Give up bullshit standards.  Give up what other’s want for me.  Give up what I think I can’t do.  Give up hesitating.  Give up being content and comfortable.  Give up procrastination.  Give up starving my ideas.   Jack Ma and Mark Manson are not at all that deep with their questions.  They simply understand that there is no gain without pain. Period.  It is now day 44.  I am in the process of answering these questions to plan for the last couple of months of 2018 and the end of #QwnSzn.  I know what I have.  I know what I want and I damn sure know what I am giving up.

I challenge you to ask yourself these same questions

 


Fall For You

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If ever there were a time of year where life slows down for all the right reasons, it is the fall.  The name itself is indictive of winding down and settling in.  The days get shorter and nights longer, the trees are in their final dress rehearsal before the winter’s rest.  The world seems to shift as people prepare for the great gatherings of family to eat and be merry, and just truly enjoy each other’s company.  This is time of year calls for the generosity of strangers and displays of loving thy neighbor and is topped with the celebration of a new year.

As I reflect over this year’s highs and lows, I am full of gratitude.  It seems with every trial and tribulation, some how a spirit of thankfulness wrapped me in the warmth of peace, even as I watched life’s chaos rage about.  I am thankful that my family is intact and with it came the blessing of holy matrimony to the man God custom made for me.  Thankful for provision, in that my school created a position for me that allows for me to flex and grow as an educator and the compensation is more that enough.  Thankful for the peace and serenity that true friendships and sisterhood bring.  My whole world up to this very moment has kept me in a state of gratitude.  I find myself whispering, “thank you for love.” “Thank you for my life.” The theme of my journaling is gratefulness.  I have found that saying thank you seem to attract more reasons and opportunities to give more thanks.  Unexpected blessings seems to be around every bend.  I feel as if every heartfelt thank you that my heart utters brings me into alignment with abundance.  I declared at the beginning of September that this was the month of abundance-I have yet to see a day that it has not come into fruition.  From a beautiful wedding day to finding an extra $10 bucks in the washer-I count it all!

This season, I am pushing myself to do something new.  There are exactly 100 days between now and January 1.  Starting today, I am challenging myself to fall in love with the woman I am.  Not becoming, but who I am right at this moment.  It is so easy to get caught up in the vision of who I could be or am becoming, that I forget that I am already a beautiful version of my best self! I accepted long ago that growth is beautiful and a necessary process.  We should all be striving to learn something new that will help us to evolve and live better, more fulfilling lives-but one should never neglect that we exist in the now.  The present is all that matters anyway.  The future is not guaranteed.  Shit happens everyday that turn our well laid plans and intentions to scrap.  That’s just life.

Starting today, September 23, 2018 it is Queen Season.  The next 100 days are dedicated to the intentional practice of self-care and gratitude.  I will be showering myself with love and finding a reason to be grateful. I will be intentionally reminding myself that I am a Queen.   I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 100 days and it really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I am falling for myself.  I intend to let myself know everyday that I am enough and that I determine my worth.  I define who it is that I say I am.  I make my own declarations and affirm myself-not for the world to see and say, “oh how great thou art,” but it is to remind myself that my existence is a testament to how great my God is and that loving myself is the best thank you.  Self-love opens us to all that’s good in this world.  It attracts this life’s best light and helps us to shine when our days become dark.  It reminds us to always be grateful.

I invite you to take the next 100 days to practice gratitude.  Instead of complaining or dwelling on the negative, find a reason to be thankful.  I welcome you to indulge in loving yourself intentionally for the next 100 days.  Drink more water.  Learn a new stretch.  Play with a new style.  Try out a new lip color.  Read a sexy novel.  Unfollow a toxic social media account-whatever you do that’s good for you.  Finally, journal about it.  There are truly immense benefits of journaling.  This will be an opportunity to focus the experience.  It is an investment in yourself that will give you a great return.  This season, fall for you.


Finding Solace

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Solace is defined as comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness.

Recently, I posted to my personal Facebook page about an experience I had with finding solace.  Days before the post I had been struggling.  This struggle was a familiar one; feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, confusion,  onset of crying, and silence.  Yep, depression was trying to slide its way back into my life.  I was fresh off just my first conference as a keynote speaker.  It was a glorious triumph!  I had spoke my truth and offered encouragement and was able to deliver just as I had dreamed.  The entire conference itself was a testament to the words that I live by daily, do it anyway.  This was me living out my dreams of empowering other women to apply and live out their own mantras.  I should have been ready for the tests to come.

I truly believe that when we begin to act on any endeavor, that it is sent out into the universe and as soon as we begin doing, the tests come.  I felt as if I had been jumped by depression.  As if it grew arms and literally suckered punched me.  This particular bout had me on the ground and was kicking my ass y’all!  I found myself crying out of nowhere and I was overly sensitive to everything.  I didn’t want to write.  I didn’t call on my loved ones.  I did exactly what I always do: sink.  I had trouble sleeping and things that should have been normal tasks, became overbearing.  Seriously, laundry is not that hard.  Yet, I found myself in the laundry room feeling unappreciated as a mother because the boys left their laundry unsorted.  This is what depression does.  It tricks us out of being happy.  It makes small tasks seem gargantuan and whispers falsehoods.  Even though I was sinking, I started to recognize the small instances of joy.  I watched some Facebook videos of people demonstrating kindness.  I would see posts of friends reporting out their personal wins and hit the like button.  The more I paid attention to the good happening, the more my spirit began to float to the surface.  I jammed to uplifting music.  I played with my toddler.  I was getting lifted! My sister asked me to fix her dinner and that’s when I had an epiphany;  my solace is in my service to others.

Like I wrote in my post, “when you actively and intentionally begin to align yourself with God’s plan (speaking at the conference), you can’t stop thinking and dreaming of ways to SERVE!  Our lives are not our own.  Some of you all are stuck or stagnant (or sinking) because you forget that your life is part of something bigger.  These last few days, my mind was grey (I confessed). I couldn’t figure out  what it was that I needed.  Sure enough, I found solace (focusing on the good) and just like that I got back to what I know, service.  I was making my sister dinner and God began to pour into me (this is where is gets good y’all).  He was giving me ways to serve and showing me all the resources around me to bring it into fruition.  Y’all I burst into tears!  I can’t help but to shower folks with love because it is how my own cup gets refilled,” I wrote.

I realized after the post, that my solace-that comfort that I didn’t know I was seeking-is in service to others.  I realized that the not knowing what I needed was my sign that I needed to be poured into.  I had given the conference my all and I needed to be filled up.  Service is how God fills me up.  When I step outside of myself in service to others, whether through deed or word, I grant myself the opportunity to connect to God.  Service brings joy not only to others, but to the server.  God is moved and He begins to reveal Himself.  I had to get outside of myself to find solace.  The tools of depression-loneliness, silence, and hopelessness-run amok in our minds first and then manifests outside of ourselves in our behaviors like crying or not getting out of bed.

If you are in the grey or maybe you are in the darkness, wherever you are solace is closer than you think.  It is in a child’s smile, it’s in kind words, it’s in letting a car out at busy intersection.  It can be found in the melody of your favorite song.  Solace is in remembering those moments of joy in your life.  It’s reminding yourself that your life is purposed not just for to enjoy, but for others to discover that same joy from your story.  Step out of yourself.  Reread a good book.   Take a walk.  Pull out old photos.  Watch a good movie, I recommend  Disney’s Coco. It will fill your heart with more joy and appreciation than you could imagine.  Trust me.  Finding solace requires a small bit of courage to step outside your mind and to just look around you.  It’s really quite simple.


How to Own Rejection

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No one in the history of ever has moved through this life without a slap from rejection. From Beyonce’ to Einstein, to you and me, rejection is part of the journey. What sets successful people like Queen Bey apart is how they handle rejection. Understanding that rejection is an opportunity and not a scarlet letter is the key to owning it. When you own rejection, you view it objectively; that is, you understand that it has nothing to do with you as a person. So, here’s the 411 on how to own rejection.

 

1. It’s not you, it’s me. Rejection from a job, parent, or crush has nothing to do with you. It is solely the decision of the rejector. Every person, company, entity has the right to decide what is best for them. Choices are made based on what is needed now and in the future. Never take it personally. You are not everyone’s cup of tea. Believe it or not, in all of Beyonce’s fabulousness, there are people who don’t care for her work. She isn’t any less fabulous or talented and she still has a whole hive of supporters who love what she does. So Beyonce, so you!

2. Grieve it. Move on. I recently applied for an opportunity to learn how to create and sustain a successful podcast offered by Spotify. It included an intense boot camp with experts, in New York, in June. I felt that I met all the criteria. As I checked my email for a response-nothing. Let me just say that there is no form of rejection as painful as the no response. Rejection letters and even the rejections that are screamed at you in a fit of frustration, at least offer some form of explanation, but that no response shit will have your mind and emotions strapped in the world’s most loopiest roller coaster traveling through a series of tornadoes. As such was the case with me. We are human and we want to know why the hell would you not want someone like me? It’s OK. Grieve it and then gather yourself up. Dust yourself off and then look at what you’ve offered. Use that no as an opportunity to remind yourself of the work and time you’ve invested, decide if it needs tweaking and then move on to the next suitor.

3. So what, do it anyway. Just because you received 1 no or 100, doesn’t mean that you can’t do it anyway. I recently read an article on xonecole.com about The LipBar lipstick company that was rudely rejected on an episode of Shark Tank, but found a home in Target stores. That one no doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to pursue your dream. It only means that it was no for them. Keep perfecting your craft, make changes that are necessary for you.

4. New Directions. In the words of the beloved Dr. Maya Angelou, “each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and , carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction.” Sometimes rejection is necessary to push you into a new direction. It can serve as the launching pad for you to learn something new about yourself. It can serve as the push you need to pioneer into something new all together. Let it serve you.

 

*Excerpt is from Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now by Maya Angelou.

 


Dear Universe…I’m Back!

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Confession is good for the soul….
I must confess that I almost gave up on my dreams. Yes, girl you read that correctly. Normally, at the end of the year I get extremely excited about the upcoming New Year, as it translates to fresh starts and plenty of new beginnings. However, as I closed out 2017 I didn’t have that normal anticipation and excitement. I was struggling with a number of things, including whether I was cut out for the life I had imagined myself. I admit that I started entertaining thoughts of why I shouldn’t attempt the multitude of goals that I had been carrying in my heart for so long and then it happened. Fear started to whisper to my heart that maybe I should just focus on the here and now; focus on planning for my wedding (again) and keeping up with the day to day of being a good employee, mom and mate. Once that thought crossed my mind, I instantly felt relieved. I allowed my fear of all the things that could go wrong, of all the reasons why I haven’t attempted the work towards my dreams such as lack of funds, time, and being overwhelmed with so many ideas, to lead me to a false epiphany. I literally allowed myself to make peace with giving up and letting all that dreamy stuff go. I quit posting to my Instagram and Facebook accounts too. I decided that the wonderful women and men that constantly flood my timelines with pearls and gems of wisdom for business and affirmations to keep going and follow through-were not talking to me because well, I just wasn’t cut out for the kind of work that is required to become the woman I saw in my dreams every day. I put away vision boards that I had started and all of my journals. I had in a sense laid to rest my dreams. I told my heart that this was the best thing to do. That since so many people are already doing the kind of work that I once felt destined for, my contributions would just be like drops in the ocean, swallowed up and having little to no effect on the growth or trajectory of it. I allowed my heart to settle for a life that was just good. Good because I would be focused on what was needed for the now.
Good is the enemy of great…..
Fast forward to 03/25/2018. I sat in my favorite chair in the living room as my mother dashed about my kitchen cooking and my 18-month old son explored his recent discovery that he can climb up his high chair and devoured the last few pages of The Alchemist. The previous week I saw an Instagram post of a beautiful woman sitting at a table in a café with a copy of it in her hands. My heart spoke up and said, “Hey didn’t you buy that book last summer?” I enthusiastically answered “yes” and went and found it in a box. Within the first few pages I was hooked. The foreword from author Paulo Coelho, offered his testimony of how 25 years ago when The Alchemist was first published in Brazil, that it went unnoticed and soon after, his original publisher cut him loose. He testifies that even in the midst of it, he “believed in his work and never wavered from his vision.” That line alone caused my heart to burst and tears began to flow. I cried because as Coelho simply puts, “when you want something, the whole universe conspires to help you.” I had been resuscitated. What I thought was dead and buried came alive! I spent every free moment reading The Alchemist as God was speaking to my heart. My spirit was yet alive and what I thought was dead was only asleep. I started having so many epiphanies that I couldn’t keep up with highlighting and underlining of the salient points of each page. As I read about the shepherd boy and his quest for his Personal Legend, I was reminded of my quest for my own. I remembered that God created me with purpose and to not pursue that purpose is to live out of alignment with God. The very thought of a life wasted after being handcrafted by the same hands and mind that created the sun, moon, stars and that made the oceans so deep, that no man will ever know its secrets-made me fall to my knees. I couldn’t stomach accepting that as my life. So, on 03/25/18 I decided to believe in myself for the very first time, as my future self. I told fear to have several seats and to never speak up unless it is telling me of a dangerous situation, for that is its natural purpose. I told my heart how sorry I was for not allowing it to serve its purpose, which is to keep me focused on the master work that I was created to complete, all so that I could live in alignment with God. I haven’t stopped there! I spent time perfecting a design for a logo and name for the platform that I am creating for this work and then I did the unthinkable: I launched that shit! I finally took all of the signs of the universe and advice of all the folks I follow and started with what I have-ready or not.

I am listening to my heart and doing the work to become all that I was created to be! We all have a master work that is our personal legends to complete. Don’t abandon the work. Somewhere, someday, someone is going to thrive and awaken to their own journeys because of your work.
“When you want something, the whole universe conspires to help you.”-Paulo Coelho